Leo R. Gainey, a community leader and lifelong South Buffalo and West Seneca resident and volunteer, died Friday in Mercy Hospital. He was 78.
A graduate of South Park High School, Mr. Gainey attended Canisius College on a football scholarship. He served in the 42nd Military Government Unit during the Korean War.
Mr. Gainey was an Erie County sheriff's deputy before becoming security supervisor for the General Motors axle plant on East Delavan Avenue. He retired in 1990 after more than 30 years in that position.
GM also presented him with the "Award for Excellence in Community Activities."
Mr. Gainey served as vice president of the West Seneca Republican Club and was editor of the Republican Banner newspaper.
He coordinated election campaigns for many prominent legislators. A member of the West Seneca Planning Board for 27 years, he was a member of Reserve Fire Company 3 and was elected to serve as commissioner of West Seneca Fire District 3 for 20 consecutive years, including six years as the district's secretary and treasurer.
He also served as director of the West Seneca School Voters League and was a member of the Town Disaster Committee.
Mr. Gainey was active in Boy Scouts, serving as a committee member and institution representative of Cub Scout Pack 548 and director of a General Motors Explorer Unit. Upon retiring, Mr. Gainey volunteered as a communication and security consultant for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School in Hamburg, where he also was chairman of Kids Voting USA. In May 1999 he was awarded the Dolores Tularz Volunteers Award by the Buffalo Federation of Catholic School Parents.
Mr. Gainey was a member of the Police Emerald Society; Post 735, American Legion; Post 8113, AMVETS; New York State Fire Police Association; Firemen's Association of the State of New York; and New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Ann Carroll; a son L. Robert; and a daughter, Coleen Laski.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 3148 Abbott Road, Hamburg.